Hanbury Place, Broomfield

hidden histories, secrets of the land

Located in Broomfield, Chelmsford, the public art for the development known as Hanbury Place, reflects ideas about secrets being uncovered if you know where to look, and memories unlocked if you find the right key. The area is known for Clobb’s Row, an Anglo Saxon burial site discovered in 1888. The finds discovered are now housed in the British Museum, they include the Clobb’s Shield, and a blue glass water vessel. The artworks are the artists response to the site.

Artist, Fiona Heron, is a three dimensional thinker whose work spans integrated art and landscape architecture and sculpture; at the heart of her vision is the desire to create beautiful, simple elegance. Fiona has created a series of sculpture works responding to the site and it’s history, and embedded these works in the new landscape.

There are four artworks: the shapes are inspired by the Clopton shield found at Clobbs Row; Only fragments remain, pieced together by archaeologists, but it is a powerful image of security and protection.

Clobb’s Hollow’, The materials explore metaphors about changes over time – rusting and tarnishing over time. The main artwork is encompassed by bunds and planting to secure and radiate the form within the landscape. Portholes are introduced to the deeper earth, revealing material objects old and new. These reference physical and non material finds, history, cycles of nature, elements uncovered during the new building, the nearby hoard and stories and lives of the residents.

Clobb’s Tree’ A bronze porthole sunken into the turf, within which a golden conker lies, sit below the canopy of a newly planted horse chestnut. A window to the past; the seed and the tree.

Clobb’s Pool’ Reflections are expressed in a mirror polished steel symbolising sky, pools, water and contemplation.

Clobb’s Blue’ Blue is a recurring element; the intense blue of the glass vessel found resting on Birch bark, the blue of the sky. Rings of lavender are planted around a silver birch tree to represent the blue glass water vessel resting on birch bark.


Artist Fiona Heron visited residents of the local care home and listened to their stories, memories of activities they enjoyed, adventures in their lives, the people they treasured. Some of the residents donated small objects to furnish the installations as ‘treasures’ to be discovered. Sealed into glass fronted portholes, these secret treasures can be ‘discovered’ and viewed along with text etched into the glass.

Fiona has written a series of poems, that grew out of the conversations with the residents, and from her perceptive listening. Published by Beam Editions, the poems explore history, place, and lives well lived. The collection can be viewed here: https://www.beameditions.uk/store/hidden-histories-fiona-heron-beam-editions

Details from Clobb’s Hollow


Artist: Fiona Heron FRSA MSc MA CMLI

Locations: Hanbury Place, Broomfield Chelmsford. Four artworks located in the open spaces with the main piece adjacent to the play areas

Materials: cast bronze and bound gravels with inset found and donated elements with cast bronze pieces; polished stainless steel; earth formed bunds and planting.

Client: Countryside Properties



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